Interview – Birds From Paradise

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Birds From Paradise

If there was ever a time you needed to listen to Birds From Paradise it would have to be right now.  While the world has succumbed to sadness and fear, their self-titled debut album which was released on May 1st, offers some much-needed respite from the current state of the world.  

I listened to the album while walking through a forest at sunset and it was the perfect soundtrack. 

As their feminine harmonies whispered wishes of hope and beauty, I drifted away to happier times.

I got to speak with the Birds who are Florence Theoret (vocals/ukulele), Lauri-Anne Franceour (vocals/acoustic guitar) and Olivia Sirois-Bruneau (vocals/tambourine) via Zoom this week.  As we are all social distancing, we tried to have a “normal” conversation.  Along with technical difficulties, my cellphone ringing and Olivia’s cat jumping into her lap, I think it went rather well… Until we were abruptly disconnected.

MR: So how does it feel to launch an album during a pandemic?

BFP:  Actually it’s a positive thing because our music is very positive and now people have more free time to really listen to our music.  We were recently featured on the new QUB App (French radio) which is very exciting.

MR:  Yes, your music is very soothing and I also believe that it came at a very interesting time.  People need to listen to something comforting right now.  

BFP:  Thank you.

MR:  So, how are you all keeping busy during the quarantine?

BFP:  I just moved so I’m trying to settle in (Olivia). Mostly cooking, gardening and playing guitar (Lauri-Anne).  I’m practising guitar a lot and learning some new cover songs (Florence).  

MR:  Which artists do you admire?  Could you name a song that you wish you had written?

O:  I like John Mayer and Coldplay.  I think “Mother” by Kacey Musgraves.

F: Patrick Watson – The Great Escape”, Bon Iver – “Skinny Love.”

L: “ Case of You” Joni Mitchell.

BFP-  We all love Simon and Garfunkel, The Barr Brothers, The Staves, Kasey Musgraves.

MR:  Me too!  So do you consider your style country or folk?

BFP:  We have a country vibe with a folk essence.

MR: That’s a great description! So what’s your favourite song to perform live.

BFP:  “The World Is Your Oyster”.  It is the most fun song to sing together.

MR:  Yes! As soon as I heard it I knew that I would love to hear it sung live. It has that sing-along feeling that makes you want to enjoy it with others.

BFP:  Yes, thank you, we love singing that one together.  

Although their album features some extra musicians on banjo, violin and steel guitar etc. the Birds actually prefer playing acoustic sets. Their songs have that folksy quality that does not require too many instruments or special equipment.  There is an intimacy that is created by their vocal harmonies that instantly draws you in and lulls you to a sweet and peaceful world.  

The opening track “Strawberry Orange Delight”  transported me to a perfect summer night, where  I could almost taste the cool, sweet ice cream as a hot August breeze caressed my skin.  I closed my eyes and imagined myself sitting on a wooden porch in the country, sipping sweet tea in a long floral sundress.  I drifted away as each song unfolded like personal letters from young and hopeful women full of promise and love.  The final track “Berceuse” gave me goosebumps and made me wish I could go back in time to when my son was still a baby. 

MR:  The last track on your album “Berceuse” is  Acapella.  Is it a lullaby?

BFP-  Yes. The song came from nowhere. I was driving in my car and I kept repeating it to myself so that I wouldn’t forget it. None of us have children I don’t know where it came from. (Lauri-Anne)

I wish that I got to speak to the Birds in person.  

Although we were four square images on a screen for that 40-minute session, I could tell how each member was so individually unique yet so deeply connected to the others. Their strength is in their harmony and together they have created a very special sound.  All three agreed how much they missed singing together and can’t wait until the quarantine is over.

Considering the fact that they cannot be together and most of their shows have been postponed or cancelled their mood was pretty upbeat.   

I can’t wait until I could hear them perform their songs live.    For now, I will have to listen to the record.  They wanted me to pick my favourite track but I couldn’t pick just one.  

I loved the energy and drama of “Flashover”.

Life ain’t always easy
Stop me from drinking all of that whisky 
I wanna go back home
Before I lose everything I own

The melody of “The Ride” got stuck in my head for a few days (which isn’t such a bad thing).

 “Berceuse” is the type of song that offers comfort and hope, which we could all use right about now.

For now just close your eyes 
Don’t ever worry
If someday you need light
I’ll guide you through the night

Annette Aghazarian

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